We communicate with hundreds of DCs who have the same questions about making on-site, chiropractic-led corporate wellness work. Many attended our presentation at the National Chiropractic Leadership Conference.Your peers who attended asked some insightful questions about building successful, on-site corporate wellness practices. We share their questions and experiences below, and offer some solutions to consider.
One thing is clear: On-site is for aggressive DCs wanting to evolve the profession to a new, higher standard based on measurable results. Without measurable outcomes, corporate interest quickly fades. Chiropractic in the workplace can change the way we see this profession and the way we solve on-site wellness – but it takes more than one great doctor to make it succeed.
Q: My C-suite patient loves me in my office, but won't go deep into the on-site discussion. What can I do?
A: Regardless of how wonderful a DC relationship is in private practice, corporate leaders prefer not to negotiate or contract with their favorite DC for on-site wellness. In fact, few chiropractors are viewed by executives beyond the clinician role when it comes to bringing real wellness to their corporation. Through our work on-site, we've discovered executives don't view chiropractors as business partners. Executives speak a different language based on metrics, deliverables and performance.
To truly succeed on-site, chiropractors must elevate their ability to speak the language of business and connect new actions to performance. Chiropractors need a partner to translate the personal care and success in practice to teams and organizations, speaking to the macro impact of their skill set. It's not that you don't bring value to the organization; you just likely have never done a business integration. With any integration, there are many stakeholders to manage for success.
Q: If I am already a busy, successful DC, why would I care about going on-site?
A: On-site corporate wellness is a legitimate option for the skilled chiropractor. The money is good and the patient base is always there. As long as chiropractic continues to demonstrate effectiveness for business and people trust their care, more people will gain access to chiropractic care. It stands to reason that the more care is conducted on-site, the less private-practice care will be required.
When corporate wellness companies bring an on-site, chiropractic-led program to corporations, we look to partner with a local team of DCs who have the leadership, growth acumen and integrity skill set needed to be successful on-site. We help them grow their private practice, offer our tools, and ultimately create a great foundation for local chiropractors helping local business. On-site is a great opportunity to get out front of what's coming and to be part of the future of chiropractic.
If you choose not to get on-board with on-site, it's likely your private practice will be impacted when local businesses adopt chiropractic-led wellness, because on-site chiropractic can offer a potentially deeper connection with patients when you access them on their turf. This connection then extends quite naturally to treating spouses and dependents, too.
Q: Is on-site an option if I'm already busy, struggling, barely surviving in practice? What should I do?
A: If you want to be part of the new conversation known as on-site, you will need new tools and skills. These tools and skills allow you to validate everything you do with science. Start by looking into the latest ways to evaluate employee stress and its impact on their health. Then make sure your documentation is better than all others to succeed in the ever-changing future of chiropractic. Finally, using web applications to communicate real-time while being HIPAA compliant allows you to differentiate yourself with instant patient access. Web tools exist to create efficient access between patients and doctors within corporate settings.
These are but a few of the skills and tools that are changing the playing field for chiropractic. Moreover, these tools allow you to manage a constantly changing health care environment.
Q: What if I'm already on-site and doing well?
A: Fantastic! Keep it up! To create even more revenue opportunities and drive real change throughout an organization, chiropractors must go beyond limited lunch-and-learns and singular focus on musculoskeletal and ortho-neuro. Sure, you might be paid high dollar amounts per person for seeing a small amount of a corporate population. To survive an internal audit, on-site chiropractors with expansive reach, measurable impact and scope of services, including nutrition, education and fitness, as well as chiropractic, stand ready to connect their efforts to corporate value.
You must go beyond the anecdotal outcomes and tie your efforts to improved dollars and percentages. If not, the clock is ticking. Business leaders value process rigor and those who can speak their language. Make sure you can communicate your success in their language.
Q: Will I stay true to my philosophy of chiropractic if I go on-site?
A: That's up to you. You will find that on-site opens up new doors to the truly holistic doctor. Simply transition the view from individual success to business success, and you will determine if having a greater impact with groups of patients is right for you. Corporations want chiropractors to keep their people healthy, share what work may be hurting people, and offer solutions to reduce injury. Most corporations need help when it comes to educating the work force. Providing the right care in triage is a given, but being a teacher and mentor is key to on-site success.
On-site connects seamlessly to any chiropractic philosophy focused on vitalism. It's a matter of defining wellness appropriately for corporations. All they know about wellness is what they've been sold to this point. With the proper training, you are positioned perfectly to change their conversation from symptoms and empty allopathic promises. When chiropractic is introduced to them as holistic, measurable and tied to performance, the conversation aligns well with vitalistic chiropractic philosophies.
Q: Can a single chiropractor practice on-site?
A: It's possible, but it's likely not a long-term solution for the client. Successful engagement on-site requires a team on-site, as well as in the private practice. With many stakeholders and accountabilities, the single DC has to cover many bases. The workload is more than just patient triage. So, two days on-site might require three days of work.
We recommend a wellness coach as a partner for the chiropractor. This person would lift the majority of the burden, building visibility, having conversations across the employee population and attending critical meetings. If you are staying in the lane of strict chiropractic, you can survive if your only focus is lower back pain and claims. Tomorrow's "corporate doctor" will become more holistic in their care, expanding care into nutrition and fitness, while also expanding value in ergonomics, safety and employee engagement. The right health advisor, who has the trust of corporate leaders, can change a culture. The right tools and support will make it possible.
Q: Does it matter if my local corporation already has a wellness program?
A: This is a terrific scenario because the corporation is predisposed to having the wellness conversation. The challenge will be to understand how they are measuring success and whether they are happy. First, we like to ask corporations, "Why are you investing in wellness and what are we solving?" We share that measurable results are possible with as few as 30-percent population participation. Our belief centers on solving a small handful of things well before we can commit to solving all the wellness issues under the sun.
Next, we assess our expertise and offer a comprehensive strategy to execute. From there, we create shared goals with metrics and expectations. Finally, we commit to participation goals, estimate early outcomes, and ultimately calculate a return on investment. If a system is in place, you must be able to adapt. Having flexible tools and business guidance is critical to successful adaptation. Because businesses and leaders change, you must create and demonstrate your value every day. Always be aware of how wellness initiatives receive funding. Demonstrating outcomes speaks a language the finance team can understand.
Q: How does corporate nutrition differ from what I offer at my office?
A: Nutrition is an increasingly valuable component of wellness care, but chiropractic offices vary greatly in their ability to deliver on life-changing nutrition. Instead of working with several patients at a time within a private office setting, on-site chiropractors have the ability to reach hundreds of employees. The key to working with large corporate populations on nutrition is creating a repeatable process to evaluate and measure success. This streamlines the assessment process for chiropractors and makes it repeatable. Equally important, however, is the team you have in place to manage and maintain your treatment plan. To advance the nutritional well-being of large populations, you must be prepared to ensure consistent implementation, which may require the assistance of a nutritional expert / coordinator.
Q: What about HIPAA?
A: Every conversation, either in person or electronically, must be protected. Imperative to on-site success is a partner who understands and has processes and procedures and tools to manage the hundreds of relationships within a corporation. Have a HIPAA violation in your practice and you may lose a patient. Misfire on privacy within a corporation and you lose an entire company. Corporate culture always has leadership pushing for more access and insight into their employee populations. Employees are cautious to share their information as a result. On-site chiropractors must constantly reinforce the fact that employees are protected through HIPAA to set boundaries with corporate leaders and build confidence with employee populations.
Q: How do I measure my results on-site?
A: Start by determining and defining what problems exist within a corporation. Create detailed assessments, solutions and measurable goals to set expectations with corporate leadership. Details matter when you are dealing with business leaders. Share progress with the C-suite so they can rest assured your presence is making a difference. Further validation occurs when this progress is infused with measured nutrition metrics, EHR-validated data and documented HIPAA-compliant culture change.
Dr. Don Hundt leads practitioner development at Cultivate, a new corporate wellness offering from Standard Process. He has seen it all in 25 years as a chiropractor. He's worked with everyday families, Olympic athletes and everyone in between, and draws on his experiences to breathe new life into the Cultivate curriculum. Currently, he teaches Cultivate's 32-hour certification course, which offers an exciting, new career path to his fellow chiropractors.
Jerry Curtin is president and general manager of Cultivate. His passion to understand the essence of employee performance has been paramount to his success at General Electric, Eaton Corporation, and now Cultivate. It's also made him a great career human resources leader, executive coach and entrepreneur. He lives by the philosophy that "a business isn't healthy until its employees are," and today he leads executives across the country in evaluating the health of their businesses through Cultivate.